Friday, 18 April 2008

#%@*ing unions

I have a strong belief in the worth and relevance of trade unions, in particular in this country. But pretty much whenever they do or say anything here it manages to piss me off. I mean what the fuck is up with marching against rising food prices!? The union leaders know very well that international influences are pushing up the prices. So all they can be trying to do is flex their muscles in the anticipation of negotiation season. That in itself is not so bad, but the fact that they use and promote their members' ignorance to do so is what gets to me.

But it seems that I talk to soon. Just as I was feeling completely disillusioned with the state of trade unions in this country, I read this recent update on a BBC article on Zimbabwe:

Meanwhile, South African dock workers are refusing to unload a shipment of arms from China destined for Zimbabwe.
The South African Transport and Allied Workers Union (Satawu) said it did "not agree with the position of the government not to intervene with this shipment".

"Our members employed at Durban container terminal will not unload this cargo, neither will any of our members in the truck-driving sector move this cargo by road," Satawu's general secretary, Randall Howard, told local media.

Big up to them for using their influence and taking a moral stand where govt and the private sector wouldn't.


Dr Phil said...

Workers rock; their leaders do not. The Labour Aristocracy is alive and well in this country. I can't think of any approaching-normal country in the world where a teeny labour elite wields so much influence over party politics. Mbeki did well to nurture understanding with Shilowa, Motlanthe, et al., but Vavi is a nightmare.

COSATU economics is often daft too. Patrick Craven argued on TV the other day that inflation targeting is a vicious circle - you put up interest rates to curb price rises, but firms simply pass those costs onto consumers by raising prices, so you have to raise interest rates again. I can forgive muddled thinking, but not poor research - there is no empirical support for this idea anywhere in the world where inflation targeting is practised. Because inflation targeting on average actually works. Even in small open developing countries like ours. Moron.

Don't get me started on ANCYL.

Greg said...

I wonder if the Angolan unions are just as principled?